Indians 3, White Sox 2
“That was awesome, kind of a crazy play and Belliard knew where to go with the ball,” Sabathia said Friday night after the Indians tied the White Sox for second place in the AL Central.
When Joe Borchard’s infield single hit reliever Bob Wickman’s glove and went behind second base, Belliard picked up the ball and threw out pinch-runner Willie Harris at the plate as he tried to score from second, ending the game.
“I just went and got it and tried to throw to first and tried to fake him and he kept going,” Belliard said. “I just threw to home plate. I think he was going home all the way.”
The win was the Indians’ 10th win in 15 games, while Chicago lost for the 10th time in 12 games. And what a painful ending for the White Sox.
Harris, the team’s fastest runner, said he kept going when third base coach Joey Cora waved him home.
“I was just going off Joey and the guy made a good throw to the plate,” Harris said. “It’s the tying run there and it’s OK to make the third out at the plate.”
Cora said he gambled because Belliard fielded the ball well behind second and had been playing deep.
“I took a chance and he beat me,” Cora said. “He was playing there in the outfield and he made a great play. He won, I lost.”
Sabathia (8-6) shut out the White Sox for five innings before Chicago pushed across an unearned run in the sixth and Juan Urine homered with two outs in the seventh to make it a one-run game.
Sabathia gave up five hits with one walk and eight strikeouts in seven innings, outpitching Mark Buehrle in a matchup of top left-handers. Bob Howry threw a scoreless eighth, and Wickman worked the ninth for his third save.
“This is probably the worst I’ve felt my last couple of starts. Every time I was looking up it said 96 (mph), 97,” Sabathia said.
“I just tried to keep going and throw strikes.”
Paul Konerko walked with one out in the ninth before Harris came in to run for him and stole second with two outs.
Borchard’s bouncer went off Wickman’s glove before Belliard fielded it near the outfield grass, faked a throw to first and then threw home to easily get Harris.
“It was heads-up baseball, recognizing that the runner was still going—he can fly—and to make a strong throw on the run. He made the play,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said.
Buehrle (10-5) pitched a two-hit shutout against Cleveland on July 21, facing the minimum 27 batters after his bid for a perfect game was broken up in the seventh. But he is winless in three subsequent starts.
Alomar, rejoining the White Sox after he was traded Thursday by Arizona, went 0-for-3 and made a nice relay throw to get Ronnie Belliard at the plate in the fifth when he tried to score on Matt Lawton’s double to center.
Alomar also made an error on Omar Vizquel’s grounder to second in the seventh.
Buehrle lasted 6 2-3 innings, allowing nine hits and three runs. He walked one and struck out five.
The last time the teams met, two weeks ago at Jacobs Field, the White Sox posted 14-0 and 3-0 shutouts. … The Indians traded for Toronto 1B-DH Josh Phelps, and he will join the team Sunday and play mostly against left-handed pitching. Minor league infielder Eric Crozier was sent to the Blue Jays. … Sabathia improved to 7-2 in his career against the White Sox.